If you’re a female veterinary professional, you might be avoiding practice ownership for a number of reasons. I’ve worked with hundreds of women in the industry over the years, and too many of them have indicated that they don’t think they have what it takes to own and operate their own business. Some believe they lack leadership skills or business knowledge. Others think they can’t afford it. Many believe they can’t “have it all” and be a successful business owner, practicing veterinarian, wife, and mother at the same time.


Stop telling yourself you can’t, and start believing you can.

Here are three reasons women should become veterinary practice owners:

1. You’ll enjoy life on your terms

Flexibility. A healthy work-life balance. The ability to come and go as you please.

The value of these benefits of practice ownership cannot be measured. Could practice ownership be more difficult and time-consuming in the beginning than working as an associate or practice manager? Sure. But, once you’ve built your business properly and created a relationship-centered practice, you’ll reap the rewards and know what true success feels like.

There are two types of veterinary practice owners:

  • Operating owner — Typically, when a veterinary professional takes the leap to become a practice owner, she will be an operating owner. This means that in addition to owning the practice, she’ll also function in other roles involving the day-to-day operations of the practice. For example, many owners are also practicing veterinarians or practice managers. However, after the practice reaches its mature phase in the business life cycle (the business is systems-dependent rather than owner-dependent and there is a strong team culture in place), the owner has the ability to become an investment owner.
  • Investment owner — An investment owner doesn’t work in the practice but receives annual dividends and owns an asset—the practice—that she can sell in the future. Investment owners have an incredible amount of flexibility and work-life balance and can even own multiple practices.

2. You’ll have the ability to empower other women

From veterinarians to practice managers to technicians and client care representatives, women dominate the veterinary profession. And, many of those women look up to female practice owners and wish that one day they could own practices of their own.

One way to create wealth while minimizing risk and responsibilities is to have a like-minded female partner (or multiple like-minded female partners) in your practice ownership endeavor. If you’re a veterinarian, consider partnering with a stellar colleague—another veterinarian, a practice manager, or a licensed technician—to help propel you to investment owner status more quickly. When the practice manager and/or licensed technician has a minority ownership stake in the business, they will be the “boots on the ground” to ensure the business is running smoothly and profitably in the absence of the primary female owner (you), which will give you more of what I mentioned above—flexibility, work-life balance, and the ability to come and go as you please.

3. You’ll reap the financial rewards

Think you can’t afford to own your own practice? Take a look at the numbers, and you’ll realize you can’t really afford not to own a practice.


$80,000 (experienced associate’s salary)
-$8,000 (savings/retirement at 8 percent for 10 years)
-$15,000 (taxes at about 20 percent of salary)
-$20,000 (student loan debt payment)
$37,000 to live on for the year

After 10 years (assuming student debt is paid off), the associate will have $122,000 in net worth savings and will have had $370,000 of spendable cash over that time period.


If an owner purchases a practice grossing $1M for $800K with a cash flow of 25 percent (10-year loan at 6.5 percent=$106K/year payment):

$144,000 (after-debt income)
-$8,000 (savings/retirement at 8 percent for 10 years)
-$29,000 (taxes at about 20 percent)
-$20,000 (student loan debt payment)
$87,000 to live on for the year

After 10 years (assuming the practice and student debt is paid off), the owner will have $122,000 in net worth savings and will have had $870,000 of spendable cash over that time period, PLUS the owner has $1,075,000 in practice value equity.

Which life would you rather have?


Owning a veterinary hospital isn’t out of your reach. Need help getting started? Contact me.